Rob Kerin

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The Honourable
Rob Kerin
43rd Premier of South Australia
Elections: 2002, 2006
In office
22 October 2001 – 5 March 2002
Monarch Elizabeth II
Governor Sir Eric Neal
Marjorie Jackson
Deputy Dean Brown (2001-2002)
Preceded by John Olsen
Succeeded by Mike Rann
9th Deputy Premier of South Australia
In office
7 July 1998 – 22 October 2001
Premier John Olsen
Preceded by Graham Ingerson
Succeeded by Dean Brown
37th Leader of the Opposition (SA)
In office
5 April 2002 – 18 March 2006
Preceded by Mike Rann
Succeeded by Iain Evans
Member of the South Australian Parliament
for Frome
In office
11 December 1993 – 17 January 2008
Preceded by seat created
Succeeded by Geoff Brock
Personal details
Born Robert Gerard Kerin
(1954-01-04) 4 January 1954 (age 63)
Crystal Brook, South Australia, Australia
Nationality Australian
Political party Liberal Party of Australia (SA)

Robert Gerard Kerin (born 4 January 1954) was the Premier of South Australia from 22 October 2001 to 5 March 2002, and 9th Deputy Premier of South Australia from 7 July 1998 until he became Premier, representing the South Australian Division of the Liberal Party of Australia. The Liberals won government at the 1993 election landslide with Dean Brown as leader, however John Olsen successfully challenged Brown for the premiership a year before the 1997 election where the Olsen Liberals were reduced to minority government. Due to the Motorola affair where Olsen misled parliament, he resigned the premiership to Kerin several months before the 2002 election where the Liberals lost government.

Early life[edit]

Born to parents Maurice and Molly Kerin in Crystal Brook, Kerin attended the Adelaide Catholic secondary school, Sacred Heart College Senior.


Kerin was elected to parliament in 1993 as the member for the mid-north rural electoral district of Frome. Between 1995 and 2001 he held various ministries in the Dean Brown and John Olsen governments: Primary Industries, Natural Resources and Regional Development, Minerals and Energy, State Development, Tourism and Multicultural Affairs. Following the resignation of Deputy Premier Graham Ingerson, Kerin succeeded him.


Olsen was forced to resign from the premiership after misleading parliament which would come to be known as the Motorola affair. Kerin became Liberal leader and premier less than six months before the 2002 election. At that election, Labor took two seats off the Liberals, one seat short of victory. The result was another hung parliament. While Labor was now only one seat short of a majority as opposed to the Liberals now four seats short of a majority, the Liberals won 50.9 percent of the two-party vote. The balance of power rested with four conservative crossbenchers—one National and three independents. They were initially expected to support the Liberals, allowing Kerin to stay in office with a minority government.

However, in a surprise move, Peter Lewis, who had since been elected as an independent after being expelled from the Liberals in 2000, announced he would support Labor and their leader Mike Rann to form minority government in return for becoming Speaker of the House of Assembly. When Kerin learned this, he argued that the Liberals still had a mandate to govern since they had won a majority of the two-party vote. He intended to stay in office unless Rann demonstrated he had a working majority on the floor of the Assembly. On paper, Kerin was well within his rights to take this course of action; convention in the Westminster system gives the incumbent first minister the first opportunity to form a government when no party has a clear majority.

Three weeks of political limbo ended on 5 March. At Kerin's request, the House of Assembly was called into session earlier than is normally the case after an election. With Lewis in the speaker's chair, Kerin moved a confidence motion in his own government. The motion was defeated, leaving Kerin with no choice but to resign in favour of Rann.[1]

Opposition leader[edit]

Kerin remained Liberal leader, and hence became Leader of the Opposition. His approach to leadership and parliamentary tactics was more congenial than usual; this led to both praise from those who saw him as a 'nice guy' and criticism from those who believed his style was ineffective compared to the so-called "media savvy and aggressive" parliamentary tactics of the Rann Labor government.

At the 2006 election the Liberals were soundly defeated, suffering a statewide swing against them of about 7.7 percent. Following that loss, Kerin stood down as Liberal leader, but remained in parliament. He was succeeded as Liberal leader by Iain Evans.

Parliamentary resignation[edit]

In 2007, Kerin announced he would not be seeking re-election at the 2010 election.[2] Kerin announced on 11 November 2008 that he would resign from parliament immediately rather than at the next election.[3] This triggered the 2009 Frome by-election. Independent Geoff Brock won the seat in a very close contest, with his presence to later deny the Liberals government at the 2014 election.


  1. ^ Barker, Ann: Premier crowned in Sth Australia, The 7.30 Report (ABC), 5 March 2002.
  2. ^ Kelton, Greg: Ex-premier Kerin to quit, The Advertiser, 18 April 2007.
  3. ^ Greg Kelton, "Kero calls it quits", The Advertiser, 11 November 2008

External links[edit]

Political offices
Preceded by
John Olsen
Premier of South Australia
2001 – 2002
Succeeded by
Mike Rann
Preceded by
Graham Ingerson
Deputy Premier of South Australia
1998 – 2001
Succeeded by
Dean Brown
Preceded by
Mike Rann
Leader of the Opposition in South Australia
2002 – 2006
Succeeded by
Iain Evans
Parliament of South Australia
New division Member for Frome
1993 – 2008
Succeeded by
Geoff Brock
Party political offices
Preceded by
John Olsen
Leader of the Liberal Party of Australia (South Australian Division)
2001 – 2006
Succeeded by
Iain Evans